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Imran Khan to hold maiden meeting with Trump on July 22: Pak FO

Press Trust of India

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Islamabad, July 4:  Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet Donald Trump for the first time on July 22 and their focus will be on refreshing bilateral relations, which was hit after the US President publicly criticised Pakistan, cancelled military aid and asked it to do more to fight terrorism.

Khan will make his maiden trip to the United States on the invitation of President Trump, Foreign Office Spokesperson Muhammad Faisal announced during his weekly press conference here on Thursday.

The relations between Pakistan and the US nose-dived after President Trump last year accused Islamabad of giving nothing to Washington but “lies and deceit” and providing “safe haven” to terrorists.

 

Khan had said in January 2018 that meeting Trump would be a “bitter pill” to swallow should he become Pakistan’s prime minister in elections later that year, but added “I would meet him.” He won the elections and was sworn in as Prime Minister in August last year.

During Prime Minister Khan’s visit, the focus will be on “refreshing bilateral relations,” Faisal told reporters.

The announcement of the meeting between the two leaders comes a day after the US designated the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) as a global terrorist group and Pakistan booked 13 top leaders of the banned Jamaat-ud Dawah (JuD), including its chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings him to justice.

Saeed-led JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attacks that claimed lives of 166 people, including Americans. It had been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.

Last month, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that President Trump had invited Prime Minister Khan in June but he could not undertake the visit because of the budget session.

He also said that talks between the two leaders would focus on “important regional matters”.

Trump was consistent in his criticism of Pakistan after launching his South Asia and Afghanistan strategy in 2017.

The US has repeatedly asked Pakistan to abide by its UN Security Council commitments to deny terrorists safe haven and block their access to funds.


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Pak reopens airspace

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jul 16: Pakistan opened its airspace for all civilian traffic on Tuesday morning, sources said, effectively removing the ban on Indian flights that were not allowed to use majority of its airspace since the Balakot air strikes in February.

The move is expected to give a major relief to Air India, which suffered a huge financial loss of around Rs 491 crore as it had to re-route its various international flights due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace.

“Pakistan has permitted all airlines to fly through its airspace from around 12.41 am today. Indian airline operators will start using normal routes through Pakistan airspace soon,” the sources told PTI.

 

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) at around 12.41 am Indian Standard Time, stating that “with immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (air traffic service) routes”.

Pakistan had fully closed its airspace on February 26 after the Indian Air Force (IAF) struck a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) training camp in Balakot in retaliation to the Pulwama attack on February 14. Since then, the neighbouring country had only opened two routes, both of them passing through the southern region, of the total 11.

On its part, the IAF had announced on May 31 that all temporary restrictions imposed on the Indian airspace post the Balakot strike had been removed. However, it did not benefit most of the commercial airliners and they were waiting for Pakistan to fully open its airspace.

In India, the biggest pain was suffered by Air India that conducts various international flights from Delhi to Europe and the US.

The national carrier had lost Rs 491 crore till July 2 due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace. Private airlines SpiceJet, IndiGo and GoAir lost Rs 30.73 crore, Rs 25.1 crore and Rs 2.1 crore, respectively, according to the data presented by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in the Rajya Sabha on July 3.

Post the air strike, Air India had to re-route, merge or suspend many of its international flights that connect India with European and US cities.

IndiGo, India’s largest airline by domestic market share, was unable to start direct flights from Delhi to Istanbul due to the closure of the Pakistan airspace.

The low-cost carrier started the Delhi-Istanbul flight in March. Till date, this IndiGo flight had to take the longer route over the Arabian Sea and make a stop at Doha in Qatar for refueling.

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Uncertainty looms large over EWS quota in NEET

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jul 16:  Uncertainty looms large over the implementation of 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) in NEET for J&K students.

On June 20, Jammu and Kashmir government approved the reservation (second amendment) bill incorporating 103rd Amendment of the Indian constitution to provide 10 percent reservation to economically weaker sections in jobs and educational institutions.

The amendment will provide for 10 percent reservation to Economically Weaker Sections in educational institutions and direct recruitment in civil posts and services not covered under the scheme of the reservation for SCs, STs, and OBCs.

 

However the authorities are yet to issue a notification for its implementation in NEET. The reservation was not considered in the first round of counseling. Clouds of uncertainty looms large over the second round of counseling as well.

“Medical Council of India and Dental Council of India also granted approval for additional 85 MBBS and 26 BDS seats. However the state government is not issuing notification regarding its implementation which has put the career of students at stake,” said Malik Sujad, a NEET candidate.

Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education, Atal Dullo told The Kashmir Monitor that they have succeeded in getting additional seats allotted from the Medical Council of India.

“Amending rules for EWS has to be done by the social welfare department. After the social welfare department notifies the rules, Board of Professional Entrance Examination will consider those for counseling,” said Dullo.

“It will take time. We will consider EWS in counseling, once we get a nod from Social welfare and parliament,” he added.

Centre proposes to scrap NEET-PG

New Delhi, Jul 16: In a relief to medical students wanting to pursue post-graduate courses, the Union Health Ministry has proposed to do away with NEET-PG and instead the final MBBS examination results would be prerequisite for admission to MD and MS programmes.

The amendment has been incorporated in the revised draft National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill which would be sent to the Cabinet soon, official sources told PTI.

According to them, the changes have been incorporated in the bill on the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“According to the amendments made in the fresh NMC Bill, entry into the PG programmes will be on the basis of the results of the National Exit Test (NEXT), which would be held as a common exam across the country. So the candidates would not have to appear in a separate exam after clearing the MBBS final exam for admission to PG courses,” the source explained.

The students would also not be required to appear in a separate exam after MBBS to obtain a license to practice.

However, for admission to PG programmes at AIIMS, clearing a separate exam will remain mandatory. Also, the NEET Super Speciality, which is a national-level entrance exam for admission in DM/MCh courses, will continue, sources said.

Every year 80,000 students take admission into MBBS courses in about 480 medical colleges in the country, while 1.5 lakh students appear for entrance exams for admission to around 50,000 PG seats.

The NMC Bill was introduced in Parliament in December 2017, but it lapsed with the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha.

After its introduction in the lower house in 2017, the Bill, which aims to replace the Medical Council of India Act, 1956 and included the contentious provision of a “bridge course” to allow practitioners of alternative medicines to pursue allopathy, was referred to a Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee following massive protests from the medical fraternity.

The first version of the Bill also proposed a national-level licentiate exam for all MBBS graduates for getting licence to practice in India.

But it was removed following strong protests by several doctor bodies.

The provision of the ‘bridge course’ was also strongly opposed by health bodies, including the Indian Medical Association, which claimed that allowing AYUSH doctors to practice modern medicine would promote “quackery”, although the ministry had argued that the provision seeks to address the “acute shortage” of doctors in the country.

The parliamentary panel gave its recommendations in March 2018, following which the Health Ministry scrapped the provision of ‘bridge course and also made some other changes as suggested by the committee before moving the official amendments in the Lok Sabha.

“It has been left to state governments to take necessary measures for addressing and promoting primary healthcare in rural areas,” the amendment stated and also made the punishment for unauthorised practice of medicine more severe with imprisonment of up to one year along with a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh. (PTI)

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Docs remove 25 kg cyst from Kulgam woman carrying it for 2 years

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 16: In an astonishing development, doctors Tuesday managed to successfully remove a 25 kg cyst from the ovary of an elderly woman in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The remarkable surgery was accomplished by Dr Azad Malik and his team at Al Hayat, a private nursing home in the district.

The patient, a 72-year-old woman who hails from Kulgam’s Kund area, had visited the doctor for consultation at Dr Malik’s clinic last week.

 

“She was complaining of abdomen pain, breathlessness and difficulty in walking. Ultra-sonography conducted on the patient revealed a huge mass in her ovary,” news portal The Kashmir Press quoted the doctor saying.

“The patient was operated on Monday and a giant cyst was removed from her ovary. The cyst weighted about 25 kg,” Dr Malik told The Kashmir Press.

He, as per the report, said the cyst weighed more than the weight of a five year old child.

“The cyst was spread from lower abdomen to lungs and patient was living with it for the last two years,” Dr Malik said.

“It was a tough procedure. Patient during the surgery had suffered some cardiac issues but we handled it with all the care. The patient is recovering normally,” he said.

Earlier in 2016, Dr Malik, who is considered as one of the best laparoscopic surgeon in Kashmir, had removed 22 kg ovarian cyst from 16 year girl at district hospital Anantnag.

In 2015, he had performed Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP), a rare surgery, on a male patient at district hospital Anantnag.

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